Manitou is a French word means 'handle everything'; please brief us on the evolution of the company. Also kindly let us know about its various product range and application areas.
The brand Manitou was created in 1958 and it is based on 2 French words: 'mani' = handles and 'tou' = everything.
It was a great success over France and Europe. The company first focused on rough terrain handling trucks and telescopic handlers. It is now World number 1 in this field. Manitou has then extended its product range in access platforms and skidsteer loaders (Gehl and Mustang) becoming a major player in this area.
How do you see the market of access work platforms and rough terrain material handling systems in countries like India? What has been the market response to Manitou products launched so far?
Access Platforms has very strict national regulations because it is related to safety when people are working at considerable heights. The growth of this market is linked to the evolution of the national safety standards and to the internal safety requirements of the Indian companies. Majority of Indian enterprises have set up their own safety standards and that's one of the reasons of the development of the access platform. Besides the safety, the other factor that has contributed to the growth of AWP is the higher productivity requirements at the site and increasing manpower cost.
Rough Terrain Handling is linked to construction markets or industry when handling materials of multiple shapes and sizes is the requirement. Manitou with its multi-purpose Maniscopic machines is offering most versatile and value enhancing handling solution to the customers: one machine doing most of the handling job instead of having specific machine for specific handling requirements. It's a win-win situation for small rental companies as well, whereby investing in one machine they get capability to handle several applications i.e. Pick-n-Carry Crane, Loader, AWP, Towing Tractor, Mobile Crane with a winch and this list can go on and on. No use to say this segment has already a high demand.
In India, we have received positive response from the market for all our products and we are optimistic that we will be able to open up this market further. Our concept and machines are used by some of the industry leaders.
Today, clients want machines to be more efficient, faster, safer and cost effective and at the same time should yield quicker ROI. Do you think that their higher cost is a deterrent as far as Indian market is concerned which is more price sensitive?
Indian market is indeed a very price sensitive market. However, Manitou has always manufactured safe and efficient machines to help companies in gaining more productivity. In that regard, we meet Indian market needs. i.e., penalties that construction companies might get in case of delays in construction projects deadlines, is stimulating the usage of machineries, including material handling machines.
A word about your dealership network and easy availability of spare parts and related services.
In India, we are working through national dealers who are specialized in their own economic field (construction, industry, mining, etc). Each dealer has its own distribution network all over the country to keep close with the market evolution and needs. The key point in our partnership is that their service points and their service ability allow them to serve the Manitou machines in most of the places in India. All together, there are over 150 places in India where you can buy or service a Manitou machine.
As a focused concept in India, how would you like to address the training and regular maintenance issues as an essential part of technical services to the clients?
Globally, the reputation of Manitou machines is robustness. Our machines will last long when maintained according to the standard maintenance schedule. That's why our dealer service team has been trained extensively and is holding the necessary stock of parts for their customers. These technical trainings are provided either in India, or in our Regional Service Center in Singapore, or even in France.
Safety concern is the most important issue of machines as operators operate at considerable height; please tell us the main safety features of Manitou products.
As for telehandlers, all Manitou machines are supplied with safety load charts for all attachments (forks, jib, basket, etc). Machines are also fitted with a cut-out of aggravating movements. This means that operators always work on a safe mode within the working area. The whole machine is designed according to highest European standards for rough terrain forklifts trucks. Additionally, all cabins comply with the most severe FOPS/ROBS standards. Being the world reference, Manitou uses only A class components on their machines.
A word about your R&D.
Manitou is also well-known for innovation and leadership in innovation of telescopic handlers. Currently, more than 7% of the Group's workforce is assigned to Research and Development activities.
Manitou has 9 design studios, with 200 engineers and technical staffs involved in R&D. 50 patents have been registered. We upgrade and launch new models on a regular basis, of course, not only for the sake of innovating, but because our new products bring higher value to specific application of our customers. Before releasing new models, the products go through rigorous validate process for both at our technical test centres and field trials in various test conditions.